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If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ve come to the right place. Once you’ve decided you’re ready to buy, REALTOR.ca can guide you through the entire process and a REALTOR® can help take care of the rest.

Here’s an overview of what to think about:

Prepare to buy

Few joys can match the pride of owning a home, but the responsibility can also come with sacrifices – from the financial commitment to the required care and maintenance. You’ll want to be sure both fit within your current or preferred lifestyle.


Plan your finances

Buying a home is a big deal; it’s probably the largest purchase you’ll ever make. Being prepared means also understanding that expenses go beyond purchase price.

To secure your new home, you’ll likely need to arrange for a mortgage but before you do, take a look at how much you can afford each month. Based on your income and expenses, our affordability calculator can help you estimate your maximum affordable mortgage payments.

View properties

A REALTOR® can review your wants and needs to help you determine your price range, as well as answer questions about the markets you’re interested in and help you compare homes and neighbourhoods. Your REALTOR® can also provide access to exclusive listing information, preview properties to ensure you’re only shown homes that meet your needs and budget and make appointments and show you homes that interest you.

Make an offer

You’ve found the perfect home? Congratulations! Now, if you actually want to make it yours, you have to make a successful offer, one the seller will accept. REALTORS® can prepare the offer for you.

Close the purchase

Buying a home involves piles of legal documents. You need someone to translate the ”legalese” and ensure your best interests are protected.

There are many experienced real estate lawyers out there. Like choosing any other professional, ask your friends, family and co-workers for their recommendations. Your REALTOR® can also give you the name(s) of experienced real estate lawyers in your area.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca

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Sure, you can afford your home now, but what if mortgage rates go up?


Low interest rates and mortgages have been a fact of life in Canada for some time now. At the time of publication, the 5-year average mortgage rate has hovered around 5% for nearly a decade. This is a far cry from late 1981 when mortgage rates were as much as 21%.


New mortgage rules

In 2017, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) took steps to help protect lenders and home buyers alike against future interest rate increases. Since January 1, 2018, new mortgages are subject to comparison with higher interest rates than the one issued at the time of the mortgage. Homeowners must be able to afford a mortgage at the Bank of Canada’s current five-year average posted rate or at an interest rate that’s 2% above what they’re currently applying for, whichever rate is highest.


Why OFSI made the move

Perhaps motivated by the foreclosure crisis in the United States, the OSFI felt Canadian consumers needed protection from forces deemed outside of homeowners’ control.


The effect of the stress test means you may not qualify for the home you desire. If you’re targeting a home with a $700,000 mortgage, for example, you may only qualify for about $550,000 under the new stress test rules. This could make a big difference in your choice of neighbourhoods in certain markets.


Working the stress test process

The new mortgage rules don’t have to be a barrier, however. First, there are ways around the stress test standard, which only applies to federally–regulated lenders. Credit unions, which are regulated at the provincial level, are exempt from stress test provisions. The same is true for private lenders. Alternatively, adding a co-signer to your mortgage can increase your mortgage target, even with the stress test rule in place.


How REALTORS® help

There’s always lots to consider, particularly if you’re a first-time home buyer. In addition to helping you find your dream home, your REALTOR® can also help you navigate the new stress test rules and requirements.


Start by downloading a copy of the Homebuyers’ Road Map—a guide covering virtually every aspect related to buying a home. Then, to get an idea of what you might be able to afford, our mortgage calculators include interest rate risk in its parameters, assuring your estimates will pass the mortgage stress test.


Armed with a little know-how and backed by the support and expertise of your REALTOR®, you’ll be on your way to holding the keys to your new home in no time!  


The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca


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Multi-generational living—where two or three generations of a family live under the same roof—continues to grow in Canada and the real estate market is taking note.

According to Statistics Canada, multi-generational households are fastest growing type of households in the country. Between 2001 to 2016, multi-generational households rose 37.5%, which was well above the median increase (21.7%) for all households.

From an ageing population (more seniors living with their children and grandchildren) to increasing levels of immigration, there are a number of factors influencing the demand.

“I think of it as going back to times of yore, where parents are now living with their children,” says Pauline Aunger, REALTOR® and former president of the Canadian Real Estate Association. “What we're seeing is a widowed parent coming back to live with their children.”

Increasingly, retired parents are selling their homes and moving into their children's in-law suites, allowing them to play a bigger role in their children's and grandchildren's lives.


a woman holding up a baby girl while the woman's mother gives her a kiss on her cheek


But while older parents moving in with their children is the most common generation-combination, extended families purchasing homes together—whether siblings or with extended family like cousins—is also part of the growing phenomenon.


two kids, their parents, and grandparents baking together in a kitchen


Indigenous and immigrant families, which account for a growing share of Canada's population, are more likely to live with their extended families. In 2016, multi-generational households were most common in Nunavut (12.2%) and the Northwest Territories (4.3%), followed by Ontario (3.9%) and British Columbia (3.6%).

The two largest markets for multi-generational households are Toronto and Vancouver. Besides both cities have high proportions of immigrants, they're also Canada's priciest housing markets, where sharing expenses might a lot of financial sense.

Homebuilders have responded by offering homes accommodating multi-generational living. “We definitely see opportunity in providing multi-generational living options to our customers,” says Justin Castelino, marketing manager at Brookfield Residential in Calgary.


two kids, their parents, and grandparents relaxing on a sectional couch


Castelino says fully developed basement suites are popular because they provide a sense of independent living while also maintaining a connection to the rest of the house. Those suites typically have separate entrances, their own kitchen and full bathroom, bedrooms and living area. Use the REALTOR.ca “keyword search” filter to find homes with particular keywords like “accessible” or “in-law”, etc. to find the perfect fit for your family.


a basement apartment


Multi-generational living has a lot of benefits. It fosters a sense of familial and cultural connection—keeping families closer together. Another key driver is cost. Sharing household expenses can make a lot of financial sense for big families.

Keep in mind, however, there are also costs associated with buying suitably large abodes with multiple configurations. To get a better idea of what your family can buy, make sure to use REALTOR.ca's Affordability Calculator.


two kids, their parents, and grandparents watching television on a couch


For example, Castelino says a traditionally developed basement could cost $25,000 to $30,000 but adding a self-contained suite can run up to the $40,000 to $50,000 range. And of course, there will be additional hydro, maintenance, insurance and other costs to consider.

Additionally, the greater the number of people living in a home, the greater the challenges; often, a healthy dose of patience is needed. This living arrangement is best suited for families who get along.

Still interested? Work with a trusted and informed REALTOR® to help you find the best property for your family.



Original Article from: Realtor

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The spring market tends to be the busiest time of year for selling real estate – but does that mean you’ll necessarily get the best price for your home?


Timing your home’s listing can be tricky – especially in a challenging market for sellers, such as the current one in the Lower Mainland.


Real estate website Zolo has issued a report analyzing the best time to list a home in Canada’s major cities, in terms of the premium that sellers achieve.


Zolo said of the spring market, “The assumption is the increased inventory on the market triggers higher sales activity, making [spring] the ideal time to sell a home. But that’s not always the case. Other factors can influence the best time to put your house on the market, including the specifics of your local housing market, job growth, current and projected mortgage rates, recent and proposed housing regulations as well as tax incentives.”


Zolo crunched more than a decade of data to find out which time of year earns sellers the biggest premium on their home price. They broke it down by area and created a handy infographic map so you can check out when is best to list your home in your area.
 

In Greater Vancouver, Zolo said, “The best-selling window to list if you’re selling a house in Vancouver, the North Shore, Squamish, Coquitlam, South Surrey and Richmond is sometime in early or late fall. Sellers who skipped the spring market and listed in the fall earned, on average, $15,000 to almost $150,000 more on the sale of their home.”

The report authors added, “Those selling a condo in the Vancouver, the North Shore, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley regions may also want to wait and list in the fall, when sellers earned, on average, approximately $10,300 to just under $150,000.”


Check out Zolo’s infographic map below to see when you should list for your area, whether a house or a condo.

Zolo Infographic-Vancouver-house
Zolo Infographic-Vancouver-condoSource: Zolo
 
Original Article: Vancouver Courier 
 
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Q. We are planning to retire in a couple of years (I’m 60 and my wife is 58) and want to downsize our house. We currently live just outside downtown Toronto and estimate our house to be worth about $1 million. We don’t have a mortgage as we paid off our home several years ago and are wondering if it’s better to sell our large home and purchase a smaller house now—or to sell the house and just rent a place for the next 20 years or so. I realize that we would have equity in another house but anticipate that the smaller house would cost us about $750,000. We could be better off simply investing this money instead. What do you suggest?
Mike


A. The right decision for you and your wife depends on what you mean by “better off.” Let me explain.

With real estate prices high in much of Canada, cashing out by selling your home and renting can certainly look like an attractive option right now. But renting so early in your retirement may be premature since it would mean that you may be renting for a long stretch of time—meaning 20 to 30 years or more.


An option you may want to consider is staying invested to some degree in the real estate market for the intermediate term (10 to 15 years) by either “downsizing” or “right-sizing” to a smaller house or condominium unit. You can then reconsider the renting scenario at a later stage in your retirement, perhaps at age 80 or 85.  The equity you have in your downsized home at that time can become a source of income for this later stage in your life. In many cases, the last years of life in your 80s or 90s can often be the most expensive, if you need long-term care. You can think of the home equity from the downsized home as a kind of long-term care insurance that will be there when the house is sold—and you’ll be very glad you have it.

Alternatively,  if you were to sell your home now for $1 million, invest the money and rent a home instead, the money you get from the proceeds, if invested in a portfolio of solid, blue-chip, dividend-paying stocks yielding an average annual return of 4%, will give you a portfolio return of about $40,000 a year. That sounds like a lot of money, but remember that the investment would have to generate enough income to cover both the rent you will have to pay as well as provide the income for other activities or retirement plans you may have for 20 years or more in retirement. And keep in mind that you may also have to pay tax on this amount, depending on your overall annual income.


Of course, other sources of income may be available to you and your wife at retirement—meaning Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, employer pensions, RRSPs*, TFSAs, RRIFs, and any dividends or income from non-registered investment portfolios you might hold. All of these sources of income should be factored into the calculation when you’re trying to decide how much more than the $40,000 annually from your investments you will need to cover all expenses.


Once you have a good understanding of what your total retirement income will be, you will be able to make a better choice when deciding whether to rent or downsize/rightsize.


For instance, if you both have ample savings, investments and pension income coming in at retirement, then downsizing to a smaller house or condo and keeping one foot in the real estate market is a strong consideration. Buying a smaller home for cash and having $250,000 or so from the sale of your large home available for investment will give you a cash cushion if money gets tight or, it can simply provide you with some fun money to enjoy the earlier stage of retirement (age 60 to 75 or so). In the scenario you presented, where you would sell your $1 million home, buy a smaller one for $750,000 and investment the remaining $250,000 (not including real estate commission and other closing costs) in a well-diversified portfolio yielding 4% annually, you could expect about $10,000 a year in investment income during your retirement years.

Mike, the key to making the right choice for you and your wife here is to look at your finances in the context of what type of lifestyle you’d like to have in retirement. Plan your finances for retirement based on the lifestyle you hope to have—comfortable; or lavish with lots of travel and hobbies. You will have a stronger financial plan—and a happier retirement—if you link or match your retirement spending to specific goals and activities you want in your retirement years. That way, there are no surprises that require spending beyond your means.

I hope this helps paint a clear picture for you moving forward, Mike—and best of luck in your upcoming retirement years.


Heather Franklin is a fee-for-service Certified Financial Planner in Toronto.


Original Article: Money Sense

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So you've decided you're ready to buy a home. Now the real work begins—saving enough money for a down payment.

“It's absolutely critical the down payment is a good size on a first home—somewhere in the range of 10 to 20%,” says Lesley-Anne Scorgie, a personal finance author. “The rationale simply being that the habit of saving is the same habit you'll need for actually owning a home—keeping up with the payments and preparing yourself and your bank account.”


There are many online mortgage calculators available to help you determine how much home you can afford. REALTOR.ca's mortgage affordability calculator can help guide you through this entire process. It's important to save a healthy down payment to avoid, what could be, steep mortgage insurance fees.


To help, the federal government has set up a number of tools you can use to build up sizeable savings, including Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). Each offer benefits for first-time home buyers to help them achieve their home purchasing goals.

a woman with her baby on her lap while working on a laptop

“For most first-time home buyers who earn an income of over $60,000, the RRSP is a very good choice, as they're building up their down payment while they receive the benefits of a reduced tax bill,” said Scorgie. “That money can then be put towards further beefing up their RRSP, with the ultimate goal of taking out the money for buying a home.”


First-time home buyers can use their RRSPs towards their down payment, which again, isn't taxed. Recently, the federal government's 2019 budget increased the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000. The repayment period starts two years after the funds are withdrawn, and one-fifteenth of the withdrawn funds need to be repaid each calendar year (over a max of 15 years) or it will be taxed as income.


“When you pool that with a spouse or a partner, they can each take out that amount in their RRSPs. When you have 15 years, that's a nice length of time to pay it back,” Scorgie said.


There is one drawback: When money is withdrawn from an RRSP, it's not invested in any financial markets but rather in the real estate market. Home buyers are trading off one market exposure for another. In real estate, your investment is exposed to the fluctuations of the local market. Meanwhile, money invested for the long-term in stocks, bonds or mutual funds is exposed to the changes in the financial market.


“If you feel you'd be better off making more money in the stock and bond market, keep your money there. Consider instead taking the money you need for the down payment out of a TFSA,” says Scorgie, adding it can also be a better option when household income is lower.

Young woman moving to a new apartment

For example, if you've been over 18 since 2009, you would have TFSA contribution limit of $63,500 in total; $5,000 for each year from 2009 to 2012; $5,500 for each of 2013 and 2014; $10,000 for 2015; $5,500 for each of 2016, 2017 and 2018; and $6,000 for 2019. (TFSAs were not available before 2009).


“If you invest your money in a TFSA, there's no penalty for using that money for a down payment. You can also re-contribute all that money back because you get your limit back. You can keep saving. There aren't many drawbacks,” Scorgie said.


In the end, it really comes down to a personal preference between an RRSP and a TFSA. According to Scorgie, you could also use both to improve your savings power.


“In expensive markets, it's very common to use both,” explains Scorgie. I would say 90% of first-time buyers in expensive markets have to use both because of the limit of the RRSP.”


Saving for a down payment is hard work, no matter how you choose to do it. Be sure to take advantage of all the savings tools at your disposal and, before long, your dream of homeownership could become a reality. A REALTOR® can help recommend a mortgage broker, online tools, and make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck when negotiating the sale of your first home.


The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca

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If you're a millennial considering buying your first home, congratulations! You're probably excited until you remember: houses are expensive and—regardless of your current financial situation—you'll likely need to save money to afford one.  

This can be intimidating for anyone but, according to a recent survey, millennials in particular say it's become more difficult to buy a home. And, those feelings aren't just isolated to millennials who live in expensive housing markets like VancouverTorontoand MontrealA majority from communities across the country agree

woman at kitchen table doing work

Do millennials struggle with short attention spans and a penchant for instant gratification? Who knows. Do they think saving for a down payment is the biggest hurdle to affording a home? They do. 

black man in a suit speed walking

Worry not! Where there's a will, there's a way and we hope these tips will help you exercise your delayed gratification muscles and save.

Set goals

Setting clear short and long-term goals can give you a roadmap towards your ultimate goal: homeownership.

It might start with bagged lunches and smaller investments but, in combination, those decisions can help bring you one step closer to where you'd like to be.

Pinpoint your priorities

Start by figuring out what you want in a home. Consider location, size and your desired current and future lifestyle needs. Compare your list with your preferred real estate listings to get an idea of what's available and how much it costs; this will help you adjust your expectations. 

Once you have a better idea of what you're looking for, find a REALTOR® to help you navigate the various stages of home buying and ownership. They're responsible for making the home buying process as easy as possible for you. They can also get you the information needed to make an informed decision: comparable prices, neighbourhood trends, housing market conditions and more.

Start saving

couple dancing in the kitchen

Once you know your price range, you can use a mortgage calculator to figure out how much you'll need to save for a down payment and an affordability calculator to see what you can comfortably afford in terms of monthly expenses (like living expenses and debt payments). 

birds eye view of person calculating and doing work on a laptop

From there, you can build a budget based on your goals. There are several tools, apps, techniques and systems for budgeting, but all of them start with tracking your income and expenses. For example, the envelope system helps you control your spending by putting a fixed amount of cash in an envelope every month for each expense category. Once you run out of money in your “groceries” envelope, you can't spend money on groceries until the next cycle. Whatever tools you choose, budgeting helps you clearly see how much your life costs, where your money is going and where there's room for adjustment. 

couple looking at finances

Saving money, working long hours and side-hustling requires discipline—so try to get comfortable with discomfort. When you feel burnt out, acknowledge it—give it space—but don't let it derail you. Practice things until they become good habits and prove the people who think you're wasting your life on Instagram and avocado toast wrong. Don't forget to reinforce your good behaviour by celebrating the small victories. 

Don’t be afraid to get help

girl at a bar staring at her phone

Does seeing your friends buy houses on social media make you feel isolated in your struggle? The truth is, you're not alone. 

According to Statistics Canada, despite being the most educated generation, concerns have been raised about millennials being “slower to launch.” 

young girl working as a barista

If you're struggling, open up about it. It might help relieve some of the pressure and hearing someone else's perspective could be a good reminder that everyone else is working hard to reach their goals, too. 

There are also programs and incentives to help make home buying easier, including: 

The new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (launching September 2, 2019) is intended to help qualified buyers reduce their monthly mortgage carrying costs. 

The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) allows you to borrow up to $35,000 from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to buy or build a home.

The First Time Home Buyers' (FTHB) Tax Credit allows you to claim up to $5,000 for the purchase of a qualifying home, providing up to $750 in tax relief to eligible buyers.  

Saving for a home isn't easy, but if you have a plan and stick to it, you'll be on the right track to affording a home that's right for you. 

The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel.


Original Article from: Realtor.ca

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Orginial Article from Realtor.ca


Sure, you can afford your home now, but what if mortgage rates go up?

Low interest rates and mortgages have been a fact of life in Canada for some time now. At the time of publication, the 5-year average mortgage rate has hovered around 5% for nearly a decade. This is a far cry from late 1981 when mortgage rates were as much as 21%.

New mortgage rules

In 2017, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) took steps to help protect lenders and home buyers alike against future interest rate increases. Since January 1, 2018, new mortgages are subject to comparison with higher interest rates than the one issued at the time of the mortgage. Homeowners must be able to afford a mortgage at the Bank of Canada's current five-year average posted rate or at an interest rate that's 2% above what they're currently applying for, whichever rate is highest.

Why OFSI made the move

Perhaps motivated by the foreclosure crisis in the United States, the OSFI felt Canadian consumers needed protection from forces deemed outside of homeowners' control.

The effect of the stress test means you may not qualify for the home you desire. If you're targeting a home with a $700,000 mortgage, for example, you may only qualify for about $550,000 under the new stress test rules. This could make a big difference in your choice of neighbourhoods in certain markets.

Working the stress test process

The new mortgage rules don't have to be a barrier, however. First, there are ways around the stress test standard, which only applies to federally–regulated lenders. Credit unions, which are regulated at the provincial level, are exempt from stress test provisions. The same is true for private lenders. Alternatively, adding a co-signer to your mortgage can increase your mortgage target, even with the stress test rule in place.

How REALTORS® help

There's always lots to consider, particularly if you're a first-time home buyer. In addition to helping you find your dream home, your REALTOR® can also help you navigate the new stress test rules and requirements.

Start by downloading a copy of the Homebuyers' Road Map—a guide covering virtually every aspect related to buying a home. Then, to get an idea of what you might be able to afford, our mortgage calculators includes interest rate risk in its parameters, assuring your estimates will pass the mortgage stress test.

Armed with a little know-how and backed by the support and expertise of your REALTOR®, you'll be on your way to holding the keys to your new home in no time!  

The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel.

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Original Article: Realtor.ca


So you've decided to purchase your first home with your significant other. But wait—you and your partner haven't tied the knot. Instead, you're cohabitating, perhaps as common-law spouses.

What kinds of challenges are likely to arise when buying property with someone to whom you're not married? And what happens if (heaven forbid) you split up after you've bought a place together? Let's take a look at some of the issues unmarried couples typically face when purchasing a home together.

Mortgage and down payment

A couple paying bills online at home using a laptop computer

Ideally, you'll be splitting your mortgage and down payment equally. However, lopsided arrangements are common because it's rare for two individuals to be in the same financial situation. Sharing the financial burden has a lot of benefits, such as increased affordability and lower down payments, but it also has its risks. When Josh, 42, and Suzy, 37, purchased their first home together, Suzy paid half of the purchase price outright. Josh, however, put down 25% of the value and took out a mortgage for the remaining 25%. Yet their bank required Suzy to co-sign the mortgage. This is because lenders typically insist both owners take responsibility for debt on the property. “Even though Josh is technically paying the mortgage,” Suzy explained, “I'd still be on the hook for his portion if we broke up and he couldn't, or wouldn't, pay.” To find out what you and your partner can afford, try the REALTOR.ca affordability calculator.

Property title

a man and woman having a meeting outdoorsPhoto by rawpixel.com from Pexels

This is where marriage and common law diverge sharply. Being married means you're automatically entitled to 50% of your home's value, whether you're listed as the owner or not. This is not the case with cohabitating couples. As a result, it's crucial for unmarried couples to co-own any property they're both paying for, even if finances are uneven. If only one person is listed on the title, then any contributions from the other person will essentially be seen (in the eyes of the law, at least) as paying rent to the owner. Furthermore, according to Toronto-based tax and estate lawyer Ed Esposto, “if you're in a common-law relationship and one spouse is not on the title, then he or she has no right to the home upon separation.”

Sign a cohabitation agreement

a man and woman looking over a contractPhoto by rawpixel on Unsplash

A cohabitation agreement is a legal document between two unmarried individuals who wish to live and own property together, but who want to protect their individual interests and assets in the event of a split. Along with documenting the details of the down payment, title and mortgage you've already hashed out, a cohabitation agreement should address how other expenses—taxes, maintenance fees, utilities, and repairs—will be handled. Bear in mind a cohabitation agreement needs to be reasonably fair in order to be valid.

What happens if you split?

a man and woman in a meetingPhoto by rawpixel on Unsplash

Now for the awkward part. Cohabitating with someone, even if you're common-law spouses, does not afford the same legal protections as being married, especially when it comes to your shared home. You'll want to spell out in your cohabitation agreement exactly how the home value will be divvied up if you part ways, or in the event one person passes away (in the latter case, the surviving owner typically inherits the portion of the property belonging to the deceased). If you break up, you might choose to sell your home and split the proceeds 50/50. Or perhaps one person wants the opportunity to buy the other out, in which case a reasonable scenario would be to offer the exiting partner's half to the remaining partner at fair market value for a predetermined window of time.

Build your support team

two women and a man in a meetingPhoto by rawpixel.com from Pexels

You and your partner will undoubtedly have a lot of questions, so be sure to find an experienced REALTOR® to help you pick the right home and a knowledgeable lawyer to assist you in drawing up a cohabitation agreement. Lastly, be sure to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of common law in Canada, which vary greatly by province.

Ready to take the leap into homeownership? Explore the latest listings near you today.

The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel

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Housing Starts

The annual pace of housing starts – new housing construction projects – slowed, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), but dropped less than what was expected for the beginning of the year.


It’s too early to say where the Canadian housing market is heading. But we can start tracking its direction by looking at some significant January figures.


Compared with 213,630 units in December, the seasonally adjusted annual rate came in at 207,968 last month. This is slightly higher than the expected annualized pace of 205,000 for January.


The annual pace of urban starts slowed by 2.1% to 190,912 units as single-detached urban starts slumped by 10.4% to 44,559 units. The annual pace of multiple-unit projects such as condos, apartments and townhouses, however, rose by 0.7% to 146,353 units.


In Vancouver, the housing starts were holding steady after trending lower in the second half of last year.

In Toronto, housing starts saw little change, although increasing borrowing costs meant pre-construction sales of new homes remained low. CMHC expects this to result in even fewer units breaking ground this year.

Looking at other regions, CMHC observed housing starts falling in Quebec and rising in Alberta from low levels. Meanwhile, New Brunswick experienced a 33% increase compared to last year. The increase, according to CMHC, largely stemmed from multiple-unit starts.

Home Prices

The Teranet-National Bank National Composite House Price Index slowed by 0.1% last month from December.

Prices declined the most in western Canada’s three biggest housing markets. Slumping oil prices have taken a toll on Alberta home prices, with Edmonton down by 0.8% and Calgary down by 0.5%. Meanwhile, Vancouver home prices dipped by 0.3% – but prices are still not far off from historic highs.

While prices rose in Quebec City (1.3%), Halifax (0.7%), Montreal (0.2%), Toronto (0.1%) and Winnipeg (0.1%), these increases are not enough to swing the national average into positive territory, according to Yahoo Finance.

Home Sales

The number of national home sales rose 3.6% last month from December, but this figure was still below the level seen in January of last year. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said 23,968 properties were sold through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) last month, down from 24,977 a year earlier.

CREA also reported that the sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) dropped across most parts of the country last month. SNLR measures the ratio of home sales to the number of new listings on MLS.

Real estate markets in western Canada showed further drops. Fraser Valley experienced the biggest drop with an SNLR of 48.5%, down by 24.2% from last year. Vancouver was second at 43.3%, down by 22.9%. Calgary came in third with an SNLR of 45.9%, down by 8.5%.

Meanwhile, eastern Canadian real estate markets showed annual improvements. Montreal showed the largest gain with an SNLR of 70.1%, up by 6.6% from last year. Ottawa came in second at 70.2%, up by 5.3%. Quebec City rose to 52.6%, up by 0.8%. These three markets outperformed the national average of 54.3%, down by 4.3% from last year.


Original Article from : ZoocasaZoocasa.com - Canada Real Estate, MLS Homes & Agents

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Luxury condo previously listed at $17.3 million was just put back on the market for $12,995,000

View full listing details here


The penthouse of this iconic co-op building right on the beach of Vancouver's English Bay features  2,740-square-foot, two-bedroom-plus-den home was originally listed at a jaw-dropping $17.3 million in October 2018, ranking in as Vancouver's second most expensive condo sale. Has been relisted on February 15 for $12,995,000 – a discount of $4.3 million, or just shy of 25 per cent.




With the original price working out to $6,314 per interior square foot, take into consideration the additional 3,000 sq ft of outdoor space with breathtaking 360-degree views, with the new $4,743 per square foot price for this one of a kind property. 



Back in October, Glacier Media was exclusively invited to take a tour of the home, which has a long, open-concept living/dining/kitchen room, with multiple sliding doors to the terrace that stretches across the front of the building to take in incredible ocean views. Renovation of the outdoor space cost the owners $3 million. 



Because the building is a co-op, the buyer will be purchasing shares in a co-operative rather than a freehold. Their purchase will also have to get approval from the co-op board – which includes sitting down for an in-person interview. 



The purchase would also be subject to a minimum down payment of at least 30 per cent, depending on the lender.

Check out more photos and details of this jaw-dropping penthouse, here



From: Vancouver Courier 

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What is speculation and vacancy tax?

The newly named “speculation and vacancy tax” will apply to those who own second and vacant homes in applicable areas of B.C. as of December 31, the provincial government announced October 16.

Anyone who owns a home that is not their primary residence, and that is not rented out at least six months of the year, on December 31 of each taxation year, is liable for the tax for that year. The tax only applies in certain areas, which are the Capital Regional District, Metro Vancouver (except Bowen Island and Lions Bay), Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack, Kelowna, West Kelowna, Nanaimo and Lantzville.


For owners of such properties, as of December 31, 2018, the tax will be levied at 0.5 per cent of the property’s assessed value for all owners, no matter where their own residence is.

In 2019 and beyond, the tax rates will be:

• 2 per cent for foreign nationals and satellite families who do not pay income tax in Canada;

• 1 per cent for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are not resident in B.C. for income tax purposes (and not members of a satellite family); and

• 0.5 per cent for British Columbia residents who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents (and not members of a satellite family). B.C. residents are also eligible for up to a $2,000 tax credit against this tax, effectively exempting the first $400K in value of the property from the tax.

All homeowners within the affected areas will be sent declaration forms by mid-February. Owners must declare whether the home is their primary residence or a second home/investment property, and whether that property is rented out and, if so, for how many months. For property owners in the City of Vancouver, this declaration form will be in addition to their municipal Empty Homes Tax declaration form.

Carole James, Minister of Finance, said, “We believe the people who live and work in B.C. should be able to afford a place to call home. Right now, British Columbians are faced with some of the highest housing prices in the world and there is widespread support for government’s plan to moderate the housing market. We’re tackling this housing crisis head-on and the speculation and vacancy tax is an essential piece in our plan.”

The speculation tax originally proposed in February’s B.C. Budget came under fire from various angles, not least because of its name. Many argued that the majority of those who will be liable to pay are not real estate speculators, but owners of second homes that are left vacant much of the year. The tax has newly been named the “speculation and vacancy tax” to address those concerns.

Other concerns raised by property owners, municipalities and the development industry have not yet been addressed by the finance ministry. These include fears that the tax will put some regions at a competitive disadvantage over other areas, that the tax could damage tourism and the local economy, and that owners of vacation homes will be unable to continue to enjoy their properties.

However, the ministry said that it would have exemptions in place for developers and builders who own land on which they are applying for financing, applying for a permit, undergoing community consultations, clearing land, undergoing renovations and entering into design, engineering or building contracts.

In a statement, Urban Development Institute president and CEO Anne McMullin said, “In the midst of a housing crisis, we applaud the government’s recognition that taxes on development lands will increase costs on the delivery of all types of new housing. We encourage government to also act in Budget 2019 to apply similar exemptions for the new school tax and other new property taxes that are passed on to eventual home buyers and renters.”

McMullin added, “We remain concerned about the application of the [speculation and vacancy] tax to British Columbians and out-of-province Canadian taxpayers. We had also hoped the government would consider respecting the opt-out request of many municipalities outside of Metro Vancouver.”

Polls suggest that most B.C. residents do not share the industry's concerns. A survey by Insights West following February’s B.C. Budget found that the vast majority of British Columbians were in support of the province’s proposed taxation measures, including the speculation tax.

More from Gov.BC

The speculation and vacancy tax is a key measure in tackling the housing crisis in major urban centres in British Columbia, where home prices and rents have skyrocketed out of reach for many British Columbians.

The provincial government is taking action because people who live and work in B.C. deserve an affordable place to call home.

The speculation and vacancy tax is a part of government's 30-Point Plan to make housing more affordable for people in our province.

This new annual tax is designed to:

  • Target foreign and domestic speculators who own residences in B.C. but don’t pay taxes here
  • Turn empty homes into good housing for people
  • Raise revenue that will directly support affordable housing

All owners of residential property in the designated taxable regions of B.C. must complete an annual declaration. Over 99% of British Columbians are estimated to be exempt from the tax.

How to Exempt Yourself

To claim your exemption, you must register your property by March 31, 2019 – and it’s easy to do, either by phone or online. The information you’ll need to register your property declaration will be mailed by mid-February to all owners of residential property within the taxable regions. 

Contact us if you’re expecting a declaration letter from us and haven’t received one by late February.

Please note that if your property has more than one owner, even if the other owner is your spouse, a separate declaration must be made for each owner. 

How the Tax Will Be Charged If You're Not Exempt

The speculation and vacancy tax rate varies depending on the owner’s tax residency and whether the owner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or a member of a satellite family.

By levying the highest tax rate on foreign owners and satellite families (those who earn a majority of income outside the province and pay little to no income tax in B.C.), the speculation and vacancy tax is a way to make sure these property owners are paying their fair share in taxes.

The speculation and vacancy tax applies based on ownership as of December 31 each year.

Note: The speculation and vacancy tax is distinct from the empty homes tax in the City of Vancouver.

Read our answers to questions on the speculation and vacancy tax and learn about how to declare, the taxable regions and the available exemptions.

Subscribe to receive updates as new information about the speculation and vacancy tax becomes available.

 

For more information text (604) 537-9791


Sources: 

- Vancourier

- Goverment of BC

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There are a lot of benefits related to investment property ownership and real estate can be a hedge against the volatility as the stocks fall. In order to maintain a steady income, one could be landlord but it would take a great amount to start with. Though, the easiest way is decide to take a loan. There are several forms in financing your investment property and choosing the right choice could determine the success of your investment. Before approaching a lender, make sure to study how different choices work.  


Option #1: Conventional Bank Loans
Using conventional financing, you can anticipate for a 20% down payment for the price of purchasing your home and about 30% with an investment property. In order to get loan approval and to determine your interest rate, lenders see your personal credit score, credit history and review assets. Lenders also expect borrowers to have a minimum of cash for six months intended to cover mortgage obligations.

Option #2: Fix-and-Flip Loans
A fix-and-flip loan is a short-term loan that enables the borrower to complete their renovations in order to put back the property in the market as soon as possible. Fix-and-flip loans are secured by the property known as hard money loans. Compared to conventional loan, using hard money loan could finance a house slip much easier to qualify and the lenders are more focus on the profitability of the market. However the interest rate for this loan may up to 18% and the paying period can be short.

Option #3: Tapping Home Equity
Drawing your home equity comes in different ways and using it to finance a real estate investment has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, using HELOC will allow you to borrow against the equity and usually paying monthly is interest-only.
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Buying Real Estate is both a home and a common investment vehicle. If you are buying and owning real estate, you have to weigh out your risks and rewards. Here are different ways you can invest in Real Estate/


Basic Rental Properties
The concept of this investment is as old as land ownership where a person buy a property and let a tenant rent it out. The landlord who is the owner shall pay the mortgage, maintenance costs and taxes. In order to cover all of these costs, charges enough rent or to charges more to produce monthly profit. However, the most common strategy is to charge just enough to pay all expenses until mortgage is full paid and the majority of the rent turned to profit. Moreover, the landlord will have more valuable asset as the property may
also have appreciated in value over the period of mortgage.

Real Estate Investment Groups
In case you don’t want to be a landlord and take the responsibility, you can choose a real estate investment group. In this kind of investment, the company will purchase or build a set of apartment condos or blocks and let investors to buy them through the company. The company will take charge of all the cost in management of the property and get a percentage in the monthly rent of an investor.

Real Estate Trading
Real estate traders purchase properties and holding them only for a short period of time, and hope to sell them for a profit. Flippingproperties is another name for this technique and is based on purchasing properties that are in a very hot market or significantly undervalued. As mentioned, properties are not hold for a long time, so property flippers won’t put any amount of money into a house for improvements. The investment must have the inherent value to make a profit without changes or they won't consider it. In this manner flipping is a short-term cash investment.
 
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Moe Pourtaghi


"Nothing brings me more joy than seeing my buyers & sellers have success in their Real Estate endeavours. I hope you find the articles on my blog inspiring and educating in your ventures." - Moe Pourtaghi

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The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.